When Should I Talk To The Insurance Company?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you are entitled to accident benefits, and need to notify your accident benefits insurer to provide certain information in reference to your claim. It is likely that your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to meet with you to discuss your injuries. It is always best practice to consult with a personal injury lawyer before your consultation with the adjuster. These adjusters do not have your best interests in mind, and have a tendency to influence what was said, or ostensibly said, at the meeting. At our law firm, we often have insurance adjusters interview our clients in the presence of a lawyer in our boardroom.
If you have been injured in some other form of accident, such as a slip and fall, an adjuster may still want to take a statement from you from the landlord’s insurer or a property maintenance company’s insurer. It is preferred that these statements also take place in the presence of a lawyer.
Often times, adjusters for insurance companies will attempt to extract information from an accident victim that may be used against them in some fashion in the claims process. Accident victims are typically left feeling comfortable communicating freely with adjusters, until they find out that what they have told them has been misconstrued. It is only natural for people to be honest and expect to be treated in a similar way.
Insurance claims, especially motor vehicle accidents, involve a convoluted and complicated area of law that the average person likely cannot comprehend. There are usually a number of factors that come in to play at the various stages of benefits and in the claims process. Additionally, there are may legal barriers that may ostensibly bar an injured victim from fair compensation, until proven otherwise in law. In other words, unrepresented accident victims are often led to believe they don’t have a claim for accident benefits or for their personal injuries.
IF THEY CALL WHAT SHOULD I DO?
It is helpful if you record the name and information of the insurance adjuster. You should take notes of the conversation and ask that a copy of the notes from the adjuster also be sent to you. Generally, it is advisable to contact a lawyer before making a statement, and the adjuster should understand you if you make that request.
If you do end up having a conversation with the adjuster about your accident, it is advisable to give very basic information, and let them know that you will talk to a lawyer before giving a statement. Once you hire a lawyer, the insurance company should not be contacting you, and all contact should be done through your lawyer. You should not sign anything or give any copies of any documents or originals to the adjuster. Adjusters will often try to get an injured victim to sign a consent form which grants them authorization to review your confidential medical files. We always advise our clients not to sign these consent forms so that our office can control the flow of information to the insurance company.